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Again the child dreamed of the opened
star, and of the company of angels, and the
train of people, and the rows of angels with
their beaming eyes all turned upon those
people's faces.

Said his sister's angel to the leader:

"Is my brother come?"

And he said "Not that one, but another."

As the child beheld his brother's angel in
her arms, he cried, "O, sister, I am here!
Take me! "And she turned and smiled upon
him, and the star was shining.

He grew to be a young man, and was busy
at his books, when an old servant came to
him, and said:

"Thy mother is no more. I bring her
blessing on her darling son!"

Again at night he saw the star, and all that
former company. Said his sister's angel to
the leader:

"Is my brother come?"

And he said, "Thy mother!"

A mighty cry of joy went forth through all
the star, because the mother was re-united to
her two children. And he stretched out his
arms and cried, "O, mother, sister, and
brother, I am here! Take me!" And they
answered him "Not yet," and the star was

He grew to be a man, whose hair was turning grey,
and he was sitting in his chair by
the fireside, heavy with grief, and with his
face bedewed with tears, when the star opened
once again.

Said his sister's angel to the leader, "Is
my brother come?"

And he said, "Nay, but his maiden

And the man who had been the child saw
his daughter, newly lost to him, a celestial
creature among those three, and he said
"My daughter's head is on my sister's bosom,
and her arm is round my mother's neck,
and at her feet there is the baby of old time,
and I can bear the parting from her, GOD
be praised!"

And the star was shining.

Thus the child came to be an old man, and
his once smooth face was wrinkled, and his
steps were slow and feeble, and his back was
bent. And one night as he lay upon his bed,
his children standing round, he cried, as he
had cried so long ago:

"I see the star!"

They whispered one another "He is dying."

And he said, "I am. My age is falling
from me like a garment, and I move
towards the star as a child. And O, my
Father, now I thank thee that it has so
often opened, to receive those dear ones who
await me!"

And the star was shining; and it shines
upon his grave.


ONE winter's evening, when the snow lay
as thick as a great feather-bed all over the
garden, and was knee-deep in the meadow-
hollows, a family circle sat round a huge fire,
piled up with blocks of coal of that magnitude
and profusion which are only seen at houses
in the neighbourhood of a coal-mine. It
appeared as if a tram-waggon had been 'backed'
into the room, and half its load of great
loose coal shot out into the enormous
aperture in the wall which lies below the
chimney and behind the fire-place in these
rural abodes. The red flames roared, and the
ale went round.

The master of the house was not exactly a
farmer, but one of those country personages
who fill up the interval between the thorough
farmer and the 'squire who farms his own
estate,—a sort of leather-legged, nail-shoed
old gentleman, whose elder sons might easily
be mistaken for gamekeepers, and the younger
for ploughboys, but who on Sundays took care
to 'let un see the difference' at church. Their
father was therefore never called Farmer
Dalton, but old Mr. Dalton, and almost as
frequently Billy-Pit Daltonthe coal mine in
which he held a share being named the
'William Pitt.' His lands, however, were
but a small matter; his chief property was
a third share he had in this coal mine, which
was some half a mile distant from the house.
His eldest son was married, and lived close to
the mine, of which he acted as the chartermaster,
or contractor with proprietors for the
work to be done.

Among the family group that encircled the
huge coal fire was one visitor,—a young man
from London, the nephew of old Dalton. He
had been sent down to this remote coal country
by his father, in order to separate him from
associates who dissipated his time, and from
pursuits and habits that prevented his mind
settling to any fixed occupation and course of
life. Flashley was a young man of kindly
feelings and good natural abilities, both of which,
however, were in danger of being spoiled.

Various efforts were made from time to
time to amuse the dashing young fellow 'from
town.' Sometimes the old gentleman related
the wonders of the coal-mines, and the
perilous adventures of the miners; and on
more than one occasion the curate of the
village endeavoured to interest him in the
grand history of the early world, and
especially of the period of antediluvian forests,
and their various transmutations. All in
vain. He paid no attention to them. If
anything they said made any impression at
all, it was solely due to the subtle texture of
the human mind, which continually receives
much more than it seeks, or has wit enough to

'You don't find the coal countries quite
so bright and merry as London town, do ye,